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WATCH: After Atlanta’s Deadly Weekend Shooting Spree, Sen. Ossoff Presses FBI Director on Violent Crime

Ossoff secured a commitment from FBI Director to determine root causes

Washington, D.C. — Today, in a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff asked FBI Director Christopher Wray tough questions about the recent wave of violent crime in Georgia and around the country. Wray failed to provide a clear idea of what the FBI believes to be the root cause, so Sen. Ossoff then requested that Director Wray work with him and his office to “refine” his assessment in an effort to protect Georgians.  

Sen. Ossoff pointed out that there were at least 12 people shot this past Sunday in Atlanta alone, and according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2020 was Atlanta’s deadliest year in decades.

Director Wray noted that the surge in violent crime is a “great concern” for the FBI and said he and his office would work with Sen. Ossoff to get to the root of the problems and refine exactly what is driving it. 

Please click here to watch Sen. Ossoff’s line of questioning.

Please find a transcript of the exchange below:

OSSOFF: “There’s been a significant increase in shootings and violent crime nationwide over the last 18 months. There were at least 10 people shot in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday, what does the FBI assess is driving this crime wave?”

WRAY: Well, certainly I am following the same trends you are with concern not just not just in Atlanta, but in other cities around the country. I’m not sure there’s any single factor that’s driving it, I think it’s a variety of things. We are seeing, you know, some of it may be, you know, the pandemic itself, in its own way, has had an impact. You know, there are people who are or maybe not at jobs or not, you know, not in school or not otherwise available, and then there’s more potential for wrongdoing to occur. We’ve talked about some of the challenges with local police departments, and some of the issues there, in terms of their recruiting and staffing, a lot of them are understaffed, in addition to the recruiting challenge, so that’s a problem. So there are a variety of drivers that we think contribute to it, but the violent crime problem over the last year, in particular 2020, is something that is a great concern, and that we are very warily keeping our eye on. It doesn’t get the same kind of headlines as some of the other threats we’ve talked about today. But as your question, I think, quite rightly implies, it’s a subject that’s near and dear to the hearts of all the people we know back home.”

OSSOFF: “With that many shootings in Atlanta on Sunday alone, this increase in violent crime is of grave concern to Georgians and people across the country. Will you work with this committee and my office to try to refine that assessment of the drivers of this violent crime wave?”

WRAY: “We’d be pleased to do that. I commend you for your interest in the violent crime problem back in our home state.”

OSSOFF: “Appreciate that.”

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